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Teenager who strangled girl to have sex with her convicted of murder

Published 01/10/2015

Melissa Mathieson told care home staff she was being stalked
Melissa Mathieson told care home staff she was being stalked

A teenager who strangled an 18-year-old girl to have sex with her has been convicted of murder.

Jason Conroy, 19, who has Asperger's syndrome, a ttacked Melissa Mathieson at the Alexandra House residential home in Bristol where they both lived.

After Miss Mathieson lost consciousness, Conroy began dragging her downstairs to his bedroom but was thwarted when staff heard a banging door.

They discovered Miss Mathieson lying dead on the stairs with red marks around her neck before Conroy appeared looking "shaky and nervous".

Bristol Crown Court heard Conroy fled and was next seen on the roof of the home, threatening to jump and end his life.

Hours before the fatal attack, on October 12, Miss Mathieson told care home staff Conroy was stalking her and making her feel scared.

Following his arrest, Conroy, of Savoy Road, Bristol, told police: "I am responsible".

He admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was convicted of murder by the jury following a week-long trial.

Speaking after the case, Miss Mathieson's family described her as "a gentle, kind and lovely girl".

"We know better than most people the difficulties that autism can present so our feelings about Jason Conroy are not based on ignorance of his condition," they said.

"What he has done is awful; we cannot comprehend it. He has deprived a brother of his sister.

"He has deprived us parents of the privilege of watching our daughter to continue to blossom, thrive, grow up and have children of her own - because she would have got through her difficulties and gone on to have the future life that she wanted within the community."

They said Miss Mathieson "wholeheartedly" believed the care system was the safest place to help her and there are now questions for many organisations, including social services and the NHS.

The jury heard Conroy has a history of sexually disturbed behaviour and has been diagnosed as suffering from "deviant sexual interests".

Prosecuting, Adam Vaitilingam QC, said: "He has admitted to strangling her and he was to tell psychiatrists later that his intention in strangling her was so that he could take her back to his room to have sex with her."

Four psychiatrists believe Conroy suffers from autistic spectrum disorder, a low IQ and a significant learning disability.

"At least one of the psychiatrists also believes that he suffers from deviant sexual interests, with behaviour that ranges from inappropriate to hostile and stalking, and fantasies that include strangulation and rape," Mr Vaitilingam added.

Speaking after the verdict, senior investigating officer Andrew Mott, of Avon and Somerset Police, said a Safeguarding Adults Review is ongoing.

"This was a desperately sad case in which a young person's life was cut tragically short," he said.

"It has been a complex investigation which involved carrying out a number of psychiatric assessments on the defendant.

"At the beginning of the investigation we made a referral to the Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board. As a result of this, a Safeguarding Adults Review is currently ongoing."

Conroy will be sentenced at Bristol Crown Court tomorrow.

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